Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
After spending a couple months in Australia and New Zealand we were so excited to be back in SE Asia and even more excited to be in Vietnam. It has been a dream for both of us, and we couldn’t believe we were finally here! We both love Vietnamese food and couldn’t wait to try all of our favorite foods and discover somenew dishes, like cou lau and bun cha to name a couple.
We stayed in HCMC for 5 days (just because we weren’t sure where we were going after), but a few days in the city is plenty. We ran around the city, eating delicious food, going to museums, and floating the Mekong River.
Just a heads up, the cars don’t stop for pedestrians here so when crossing the crosswalk be very mindful and once you start crossing, don’t stop! Here is a more detailed list of what to do in HCMC:
Top 7 thing to do in HCMC
- Wander District 1: this is the “main” area of HCMC and it is where most of the touristy spots are. There are tons of shops and restaurants in this area.
- Float the Mekong River: there are a bunch of tour companies that will take you to the Mekong River and give you a tour. Negotiate beforehand and know exactly what you are getting because they will try to take you only to places where you can buy more stuff and tip more people.
- Visit the Saigon Central Post office: it is a beautiful building that was constructed in the late 19th century and designed by Gustave Eiffel.
- Visit the Ben Thanh Market! This is the central indoor market at the center of Ho Chi Minh City.
- Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon: beautiful catholic cathedral
- War Remnants Museum: this is a must when coming here. It is crazy to see what the Vietnamese went through during the war. Also, keep in mind that the museum is highly biased.
- Go to “Backpacker Street”: this is where all the backpakers stay but it is super fun to check it out. On Sundays they have a street market with vendors selling clothes, trinkets, hand bags, shoes, and food. Our favorite pho place is on this street. Its fun to come here in the day time and at night.
- Chinatown: this is in District 5 but is a large part of HCMC. There is awesome Chinese food here, TONS of shops, and historical places worth a visit.
- Tran Phu Art Street: art and crafts made by local artists
- Nhi Phu Temple: built in the late 17th century by the Chinese Vietnamese
- Father Tam Church: built similarily to Chinese temples, very beautiful church.
- Traditional Herbal Shops
- Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda: very ornate pagoda built by the Chaozhou Chinese
Where to eat in HCMC
- Bamboo Chic: has delicious fusion food with beautiful views of the city. We highly recommend it! Its located at the Le Meridien.
- Pho Quynh: this is on backpacker street and is one of the best pho that we have ever had. Its always busy but definitely worth the wait.
- Highland Coffee: this is the Starbucks of Vietnam. They have delicious coffee and locations all over the place.
- Cafe Central An Dong: this is a delicious buffet restaurant at the Windsor Plaza. They have some of the best seafood.
Where to stay
Windsor Plaza Hotel: This is a 5 star hotel in District 5. We LOVED our stay here because it was a short Uber ride away into District 1 but it had a lot of restaurants and entertainment here too. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service to District 1 all day long. They have a free tour around District 5 as well. We stayed in the club room which has the club lounge included. They serve snacks and drinks from 5-7pm every night with amazing views of the city. We also loved the incredible roof top pool and hot tubs here that offers a panoramic view of the city while you lounge around and swim. We recommend staying here, it was a great oasis among the madness of Ho Chi Minh.